Metal Gear Solid 4 – Diary #2

MGS 4 Diary: Entry #1, Entry #2, Abandoned!
MGS4 Reviews:
Metacritic |
Reference: GameFAQ Walkthrus | wikipedia12

Progress: I made it to Act 1 – Crescent Meridian (7th of 8 parts to Act 1)

What a difference a day makes. Discovering that Weapons/Items need to be equipped before they appear was important! (See Update in Diary Entry #1). You’d think the game or manual would have mentioned that somewhere up front!


I can’t say enough for the visual and cinematic feel of MGS4. The particle effects, fabrics, lighting, character models, rich and detailed environments, the camo suite, the Dolby surround sound audio. This is a visual and audible masterpiece.

Love the Bright Sunny Arab World

Stealth games are usually too dark (can you say “Splinter Cell”). Heck, too many video games are too dark. One of the reasons I love the GRAW series so much is because they are mostly set outdoors in the bright sunlight. I wish more games were set in the sunlight.

How Do You Tell the Difference Between MPCs and Militia?

If you kill militia, by accident or not, they’ll turn on you. So it’s important to either avoid them and PMC’s in all battles with stealth or determine which of the factions is militia and which is PMC and then side with the militia (you can side with the PMC but they’ll still shoot you).

So that’s been my big question/challenge today?  Previously, the only way I could tell was to use the solid eye and zoom in close to read the character’s names (militia’s are named ‘militia”). I had thought there was going to be a colouring difference (ie: the text and symbols) but there is none – at least initially.

I have noticed that when some militia get to know you, their icon box beside their name turns a different colour and their name turns blue (from orange). It’s hard to see that from a distance and it isn’t the case for all militia. And the names of the PMCs always seem to be blue. Aside from the few militias whose icons turn green (or some other colour) once they know you, most militias still are indistinguishable from PMCs. I couldn’t find a way to force them to get to know you (like standing beside them).

To make things worse, your threat meter shows them as a threat – even when they are not shooting at you.

I’m hoping there is an easier way, or at least I’m hoping I start to learn the uniform distinctions because I’ve killed militia several times now by accident with the result being, I’m their next target.

By the end of Day 2, I was pretty good at distinguishing between the two. It’s a pain, but doable.

Too Long Between Save Points

As always, this is a pet peeve. But this time not so much because I’m getting killed over and over and can’t make it to a checkpoint. Rather, I don’t necessarily have an hour to kill between checkpoints.


Only at the very end of my 2nd day of play did I notice that on the bottom left, just above equipped item icon, it says “Checkpoint” when you’ve reached a checkpoint. The letters are small and it goes by quick. But at least I found a way of knowing if I reached a checkpoint.

More Tips

No Need to Rush: This is stealth game. Twice now I acted on Otacon’s instructions to hurry up and get to the rendez-vous point only to get killed. There is never a need to rush (at least not so far).

Rotate Between  Solid Eye & Rations: I originally intended, whenever possible, to keep the Solid Eye equipped until I realized it ran out of batteries and needed recharging. So, my strategy so far is to flip between Solid Eye (to find things easily) and rations (for instant health recovery during battles).  In any case, if I’m about to do battle, I put on rations to protect myself – regardless of whether the solid-eye needs charging. I also switch to anything other than solid eye any time I have to leave the game for a moment. Might as well let it recharge while you are away.

Salvage Bodies Quickly: If you let dead bodies lie, they will disappear along with salvageable goodies. Get’m while their still warm.

Briefing Screens are Useful: The ‘briefing screen” (available if you click the “Start” menu while playing) doesn’t provide you with mission briefs as you’d expect. It provides more of a ‘codec’ type environment where the basic game mechanics are explained really nicely. It’s definitely worth a look through.

More Nits

Dead Body Shake Downs: This whole mechanic of having to pick up a dead body and drop it in order to find goodies is a bit annoying. I’d rather the game just let me go over and press a button to search.

What’s Up with the “Codec”?: As I mentioned above the ‘Briefing” screens provide what I’d expect in a Codec and all I can get from the “Codec” screen is the last set of mission instructions from Otac0n. Is that all that its supposed to do? I think they have the “codec” and “briefing” menu items mixed up.

Endless Enemy Spawning: This is starting to feel like Call of Duty 2 when the enemy spawns endlessly when you are not advancing. This is the case in the latter parts of he first mission. I hate that. This is supposed to be stealth. Endless spawning forces you to proceed even when it isn’t safe.

Meryl and Beyond

I just met Meryl and her team. Too much poop-humour for my tastes. But she sure is pretty. But what’s up with her stiff hair. Goes to show that even in an advanced game like this, they still have a tough time getting hair right.

<<  Read Diary Entry #1


  1. // Reply

    There are lots of things to unlock. So much that I’m going to have to replay the game a few times.

    The checkpoint style saving system was a little annoying to me at first, but then after reading a few things, mostly just unlocking extra related stuff, I’ve come to realize that it should be possible to finish the game in under 5 hours. That being said, I’ve paid more attention to the various checkpoints, and later in the game it seems like there are dozens more checkpoints than when compared to earlier on in the game.

    No Rush:
    There is definitely no need to rush to do a basic completion of the game. I’m normally cool, calm and patient with stealth games, a lot of the time “too much”, I started playing out MGS4 slower than a snail, I spend a lot of time prone and crawling, sometimes crouch, rarely stand.

    Solid Eye:
    On 90% of the time unless it is recharging.

    Salvaging Bodies:
    Rarely do anymore. I don’t use a lot of items, so I’m full on a lot of things and don’t bother “looting”.

    Had Easter eggs on the old ones, by talking to certain individuals.

  2. // Reply

    You got through in 5 hours! Heck, there’s more than 5 hours of cut scenes! :) I’ve already spent 10 hours in the game and I’m just into Act 2 now.

    I rented the game and the rental expires tomorrow. I’m seriously considering returning it.

    Funny, the game is gorgeous, but I think I’ve had enough. I’m very surprised that I’m not having much fun at this point. I don’t know the history of the game so the story is largely irrelevant to me. I don’t know who any of these seemingly important characters are.

    The fact that it takes SO long between saves, I am going excruciatingly slowly because I don’t want to accidentally die and have to play 20 minutes that I just played over again. Why do game developers think playing the same thing over and over is fun?

    It’s going on midnight as I type. I think I’ll pop it in and see if the game gets any better. Otherwise, tonight may be my last night.


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